TEAM BARNETT ADOPTION 2014 ~ Felix's Heroes Wall

The following people have graciously donated to our adoption fund and have made Greta, Felix, & Romeo one step closer to becoming "An Orphan No More"!
Greta's, Felix's, & Romeo's Heroes Wall:
Linda Wade ~ TX; Tammy Johnson ~ TX; Brian & Carol Miller ~ NC; Karl & Beth Brennan ~ TX; Sammye Smith ~ TX; Barbara Balthrop ~ TX; Jeri Newman ~ TX; Shirley Bowman ~ TX; Anonymous ~ TX; Kelly & Chay McClellan ~ TX; Heather Farester ~ VA; Terri Mauldin ~ TX; Sherry Hamby ~ TX; Laura Homan ~ TX; Cindy & Kelsey Cregar ~ MD; April Jurisch ~ TX; Danni & Rhaya Edison ~ TX; Brenda Baswell ~ AL; Anonymous ~ TX; Keshia Melton ~ New Zealand; Mistie Sutko ~ TX; Amy Epley ~ TX; Annie Trenda ~ WA; Jenny Raspberry-Martin ~ Canada; Amber Gilchrist-Anderson ~ NM; Bianca Montelaro-Oliver ~ LA; Sasha Fera-Schanes ~ CA; Gigi Glynn ~ NJ; Cordie Teddlie Everman ~ TN; Clydene Moore ~ TX; Peggy McAdams ~ TX; Kayla Groen; Kristen Abel ~ TX; Dandy Rivas Fleming ~ TX; Colleen Salinas ~ TX; Katy Pyle ~ LA; Sandra Lizcano ~ LA; Reby Lawler ~ TX; Charlette Flowers ~ TX; Mary Anne McCartney ~ TX; Colleen Krizak ~ TX; Rhonda Jackson ~ TX; Heather Woodall ~ TX; Heather Johnson ~ TX; Sherwin & Ann Lee ~ TX; Stacie Lee Mercer ~ TX; Anonymous; Wesley Barnett ~ MS; Anonymous ~ TX; Shirley Massey ~ TX; Jeremy & Mandy Danielson ~ TX; Anonymous ~ TX; Debbie Goff ~ TX; Jamie Discher ~ TX; Carol Miller Wise ~ NC; Cherrisa Shelton ~ TX; Sheilah Chisum ~ NM; Debbie Marks ~ OH; The Stokes Family ~ TX; Wanda Oldag ~ TX; Lisa Smith ~ OH; Michelle Hughes ~ VA;
Reece's Rainbow: Andrea Roberts, Nancy Thornell, Debbie Hannon, Michelle Zoromski, & Lucille Brown

Monday, August 29, 2011

Traveling Post # 12: Our Beautiful Sunshine and My Hero

Reece's Rainbow picture

What not to say about Maclayne Faith?  This precious little girl was seared into my heart the first time I saw her picture on the Reece’s Rainbow website.  When we first decided to adopt Teague and Trenton, I made it my mission to not only pray for our two boys, but to also pray for the tiny little girl with both Down syndrome and Fetal Alcohol syndrome at their orphanage.  It never crossed my mind to inquire about adopting her because David and I was content with raising boys only.  In fact, I have always made it a point to tell others that there would be NO WAY that I would want to and no way I could ever be the mother of a girl.  It’s funny how God works.  Little did I know that all those times I was down on my knees praying and asking God to prepare the heart of the mommy who would come rescue and adopt this little angel, it was my heart He was preparing.

David and I were about a month into committing to our boys when I had had enough of the “nagging thoughts” to inquire about the cost of adopting her.  In my mind, I was inquiring because I had taken on the mission of finding her mommy and I needed this “important” information on her so that I could advocate for her.  Plus, I knew that the newly inquired information would eliminate David and me from bringing her home altogether because there would be no way we could afford to adopt another child, let alone a girl!

June 2011
About two and a half weeks before Christmas, I sent Andrea an email asking about Leeza and the cost of adopting her with “other children”.  For some reason, I started the email off by telling Andrea that David and I weren’t committing to adopt her, I was just wondering how much it more it would cost to adopt her along with Teague and Trenton.  As soon as I hit the send button, I realized what I was really asking.  I choose to take the out of sight out of mind approach and forget that I had sent the email.  And when Andrea responded, I would promptly thank her for the information and tell her that I was trying my hardest to find a family for the little girl.   

Again, it’s funny how God works.  During the few days it took before Andrea responded to the email, almost every thought I had was about this sweet little girl.  Every time I saw a mother and her daughter it would make me smile and leave me with thoughts of just how lucky they both were.  Each time I saw the colors pink and purple, I would think how sweet it would be to decorate a little girl’s room in those colors.  Each time I saw an outfit for a little girl, I would look for socks and bows to match the outfit. 

August 22, 2011
Finally, Andrea’s response came to my in box and I found myself opening the email just as fast as I could.  The magical words that my heart was secretly yearning for were now wide open for my mind to read.  This precious little girl had enough money in her grant fund and that it would not cost a dime more to add her to our adoption of Teague and Trenton.  I started bawling and called David at work.  I was actually in my car driving to pick Silas up from his school and David told me to calm down, pull over, and then call him back.  When I called him back I could barely tell him the news.  He was quiet for several seconds when he finally asked me if this is really what I wanted to do.  I told him that God had opened all the doors leading us to bring her home with our boys.  

During the next eight months, it was Maclayne who we prayed for the most because she was the most fragile.  There were hundreds of times that these prayers and thoughts would leave me in tears because I knew what my precious daughter had to endure in her short little life.  My heart was broken over and over again.  A few times, my worry left me physically sick.  David was much stronger than I was when it came to our baby girl.  He told me over and over that we needed to trust that God was taking care of her.  I would always counter with a simple “I do trust in God.”  David would tell me all over again, “no, we need to trust that God is taking care of her.”  To hear these words were pretty ironic because God has always equipped me with a strong faith in Him and in His will.

Holding her for the 1st time
On the day when I finally got to hold my precious, beautiful daughter, I fully understood how God was taking care of our Maclayne.  Our mighty wonderful Savior had equipped this tiny nine pound three year old little girl with a will so strong that it could bring even the most seasoned adults to shame.  And, in a way, it did bring me to shame as I thought, “my little girl knew that she needed to fight.”  God had equipped her with a faith that she has yet to understand in order to live through the days of neglect and abuse that she did not deserve.  Maclayne taught me the true meaning of the childlike faith Jesus preached about.  For I am thankful that "[her] angels in heaven continually [saw] the face of [the] Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 18:10b).
August 27, 2011

So, when I think of our little Maclayne Faith two thoughts immediately come to the forefront of my mind:  she is our Beautiful Sunshine and she is my hero.  And her “Gotcha Day” will be the first day of my Beautiful Sunshine’s childhood.  The childhood that had been withheld from her for over three years.

Laughing with my Sunshine

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Traveling Post # 11: Our Musical Daddy's Boy

Reece's Rainbow picture

What can be said about our precious Teague?  First of all, he is the polar opposite of Trenton.  In all of the pictures we had seen of him, from the two Reece’s Rainbow pictures to the Miller and Hagler pictures, he looked very quiet and low-key.  When we finally got to meet our sweet little boy on August 22, his pictures did not lie.

Immediate Daddy's Boy
In walked a very quiet and shy little boy holding the hand of his caregiver; he did not stray very far from the security of her hand and leg.  Then, once again, a magical moment that only God could orchestrate happened.  The orphanage Director told him in Ukrainian, “Igor, this is your Mama and Papa.”  Immediately, he looked up, with his eyes shining, and went straight to his Papa.  David scooped him in his arms and kissed his cheek.  The whole time David was holding Teague, our little boy was making a happy humming sound and patting David’s back.  When David sat down with Teague in his lap, it was like Teague had finally found his place after a four year search.

When David finally handed him to me, Teague giggled.  I started kissing him all over his face and neck and his giggling turned into pure laughter.  I started singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and used his hands as the spider.  As soon as I did this, his sweet little laughter turned back into humming as he swayed a little to my off-key singing.  It was at that moment we realized just how much our Teague loves music.

When it was time to be taken back to his groupa, David and I both hugged and kissed him.  It was, however, David’s touch that made Teague the happiest.  It was then that I realized just how much of a Daddy’s Boy our precious Teague was going to be.

Listening to a favorite song
Over the last few days, Teague has stayed true to picture and personality form.  He is still quiet and low-key, but is starting to come out of his shell more and more.  One thing that has helped more than anything is David playing music on his iPhone and allowing Teague to hold it.  When certain songs come on that he likes, Teague places the iPhone under his chin and will sway to the music.  We have also realized just how clever our little man is because it did not take him long to figure out that if he touched the iPhone screen, he could see different pictures. 

We have gotten the greatest joy out of seeing Teague’s desire to be our son simply because he is feeling more and more secure with us as his Mama and Papa.  All it takes to brighten him up is to ask, “Where’s Papa?”  We are blessed to know that he will always be our perfect Musical Daddy’s Boy.

Happily swinging

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Traveling Post # 10: Our Mischievous Escape Artist

Reece's Rainbow picture

Wow, what to say about Trenton James.  From the moment we saw his picture on the Reece’s Rainbow website, we knew he was a mess.  Then the updated pictures of him came from the Haglers and the Millers who were adopting children from the same orphanage.  True to picture character, our thoughts of him being a mess were still being confirmed.  Anyone viewing the pictures could see that ever so small glint in his eyes that gave him away.

The day that we had been waiting an eternity for came and, once again, our suspicions were confirmed.  On Monday, August 22, 2011 we met our little Escape Artist who we had been praying for sinc
e November 2010.  Immediately, we were able to see the ever so slight gleam in our son’s eyes that had only been noticed in pictures.  He walked in like he owned the place and we were just another mother and father who were visiting his orphanage.

Giving his mama a "high five"
The caregiver who brought him to us told him to give me a “high five” and he walked over to me and held his hand up to slap my hand.  After we had exchanged the high five, the biggest grin appeared on his face and the sweetest little giggle escaped from his mouth.  He then kissed his hand and threw me the kiss as walked over to the orphanage Director’s desk to grab something off of it.  David and I let him do his own thing, knowing that he would eventually warm up to us and know that we were his parents.

Then the magical moment that only God could orchestrate occurred.  His caregiver told him that we were his Mama and Papa.  Our sweet little Trenton turned around and came to me with his arms up.  I picked him up and started kissing him all over his face and neck.  The whole time he ha
d his arms around my neck and giggled.  I then handed him to David and his little chubby arms went around David’s neck.

He is up to something
Our Mischievous Escape Artist’s gleam shifted ever so slightly at that moment.  He continues to make his caregivers run around in circles with his stubborn antics, but the new gleam in his eyes is now one of security directed at us, HIS MAMA AND PAPA.

Trying to escape

Friday, August 26, 2011

Traveling Post # 9: Our Children part 2

Here are a few pictures of Maclayne from today.  I'll post more tomorrow of all three of our beautiful children.  I'm very tired and in need of more than a couple hours of sleep.  So, I'm now going to bed praying that I'll be able to sleep deeply.

As promised, I'll start posting about the children on an individual basis after our morning visit with them tomorrow.  It's amazing how each of them are really growing in our love each day.  It is a beautiful thing to witness them blossom.  God is so good!

Our precious Maclayne Faith
I never knew just how wonderful it would be to have a daughter
What a blessing it is to be able to kiss such sweet lips

Traveling post # 8: Our CHILDREN!!!!

Uggghhhh, it has been frustrating because we have been without internet since last Saturday...almost a whole week!  It is interesting how much we rely on technology each day, actually each hour.  I am truly a child of the digital age.  The timing of our literal disconnect from the world could not have come at a worse time. The most important part of our trip, meeting our children for the first time, and we have the bad misfortune of not being able to post pictures and brag about our beautiful Teague, Maclayne, and Trenton.

I will post information and more pictures of the children individually, but for is what everyone has been waiting for!  Please let me introduce you to Teague Josiah Barnett, Maclayne Faith Barnett, and Trenton James Barnett:

Overwhelmed with 9 months of emotion
Our precious daughter, Maclayne Faith

Holding our precious youngest son, Trenton James
Trenton's mischievous grin...he is always up to something!

Holding our precious Teague Josiah

A true daddy's boy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Traveling Post # 7: Our apartment (the inside)

[Note:  I wrote this after we finally got to our apartment in Kiev, the night before our SDA appointment, but didn’t get a chance to post it until now.]

After we went tin to our actual apartment, we were quite surprised.  The inside of our apartment is really nice.  (This made me feel even worse for my selfish thoughts).  Niko did tell us, though, not to answer our door for anyone.  He said that if it was him or any of our facilitators, they would call us.  He told us that this is for our safety. 

Our apartment has one bedroom, one bathroom, a small kitchen, and a small living room.  There is a built in desk in the living room and a good sized TV and is furnished.  I really like the small balcony off of the bedroom.  There is plenty of room to have a little patio set.  I’ve noticed that most people do sit on their balconies in the evenings.  There is always a breeze blowing and it is very relaxing.

This would be a great apartment for a single person or a couple with no children.  Not that God needed to answer my selfish prayer, I was glad that the inside of the apartment turned out to be nice.  Maybe He felt that our apartment did not need to be a distraction and that I needed to stay focused on the reason we are really here.  All I can do is thank Him and ask forgiveness for being so selfish.  I know that He has called us here to adopt our children and that He will sustain us.

Traveling Post # 6: Our apartment (the building)

[Note:  I wrote this after we finally got to our apartment in Kiev, the night before our SDA appointment, but didn’t get a chance to post it until now.]

When David and I reached our apartment around 8:30 pm, we were worried.  The outside of the building is really run down and there is graffiti sprayed everywhere.  There were also several rough looking men with no shirts on sitting by the door to the apartment building drinking and smoking.  They were talking rather loud until we walked by.  They all stopped talking and watched us as Niko opened the building door so we could go inside.

Once we were inside, our worry grew.  The inside of the building is very old and rundown.  There is a very musty smell.  The water pipes and electricity wires are out in the open.  The lights that work are light bulbs swinging from their sockets attached to bare wires.  They do not provide much lighting at all.  The building reminded me of the pictures I have seen of old Russian buildings pre-WWII.   The walls are painted in old hospital green.

For a split second, I questioned myself as to why we were here.  Immediately, though, I got that out of my head.  I focused on our children and the conditions that they have always lived in and what their future living conditions will be if we did not come for them.  They would be sent to a mental institution that is probably a hundred times worse.  I know for a fact that if my sweet Maclayne was transferred, she would not last six months.  I am ashamed that I even had that split second thought.  Who am I to complain about something as little as this when this is a necessary step to bringing our precious children home?  

Teague, Trenton, and Maclayne:  please forgive your mother for doubting.  I love each of you more than words can express and I promise that I would do anything and endure anything for my sweet children.  We will all be together soon.

Traveling Post # 5: getting settled in Kiev

[Note:  I wrote this after we finally got to our apartment in Kiev, the night before our SDA appointment, but didn’t get a chance to post it until now.]

I am finally able to sit down and have time to completely update our blog.  It has been crazy around here getting settled for the few days we will be in Kiev and getting everything together for our adoption process.  When we were met at the airport by our driver, Niko, it was go! go! go!

I really like Niko.  As we were driving into Kiev from the airport, he made sure we were okay.  He told us what the next few days would be like for us.  We were given a cell to use while we are in-country.  The phone had all of our facilitators’ numbers in it.  We will also use the phone to call and stay in touch with the other Reece’s Rainbow families who are also in Ukraine.  He also told us some of the history of Kiev.  He also told us the landmarks that we drove by. 

Our first stop was to pick up our keys for our apartment.  Our apartment was already arranged by Yulia.  We stayed in the car as Niko went to pick up the keys and get the address.  David and I had a fun time watching all of the drivers trying to get the best parking spaces.  It was pretty much a duel to the end with the driver actually willing to crash into the other car being the winner.  The number of car horns going off, it was a symphony.  It really reminded me of Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

The next stop was to a grocery store to pick up some necessary items.  Forget the Super Wal-Marts and the Super HEB stores, the grocery stores here are like the local stores of small towns back in the 80s.  For those of you who are old Frisco, the store we went into looked exactly like Henry’s, but about half the size.  It was more the size of Douglas’s.  This made me smile as I remembered the times that Shane, Stacie, and I would walk down to Douglas’s to get candy or a coke.  Then we would get a snow cone from Mary, before she was dubbed the “Snow Cone Lady.” 

You may laugh about this, but since we are on a VERY tight budget we brought granola bars, peanut butter crackers, instant oatmeal, Ramen noodles, and a ton of peanut butter.  This is what we plan to live on for the next few weeks.  Our menu for the coming days reminds us of college.  Besides, all this fiber will be good for us.

We only bought water (the water here is unsafe to drink), a quart of milk for our oatmeal, and bread.  Niko kept showing us things to buy saying that we would be hungry later.  We told him that we brought food and that these items would be enough.  We are still in budget: the food cost 30₴ which is about $3.75.

Word of warning:  the store bought milk in Ukraine IS NOT like American store bought milk, it tastes more like buttermilk.  They must not homogenize their milk like we do.  David doesn’t think it’s that bad, but I do.  It doesn’t taste too bad in oatmeal, though.

Now, on to our apartment!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Traveling Post # 4: Still en route

[Note:  I wrote this after we got to our apartment in Kiev, but didn’t get a chance to post it until now.]

The flight from Munich to Kiev did not start out very good.  First of all, the flight was overbooked and it was very crowded.  Secondly, the whole plane smelled of horrible body odor; I was literally sick to my stomach for most of the flight.  Thirdly, a man who was sitting across the aisle from us didn’t think we should have our seats.  There was an older man, perhaps the other man’s father, sitting in the last seat on our row.  The son must have thought his father should have the whole row.  I had my boarding pass in my right hand and the son grabbed it to see if we really had these seats.  He said something loud and obviously offensive in Ukrainian because the people around us suddenly looked up.  The son kept speaking Ukrainian as he waved his hand at us to move on and several times he said, “it’s okay it’s okay.”  The father was going to get up and let us in the aisle, but the son spoke very loudly to him and the father then sat down in my seat!  The son then said again, it’s okay it’s okay.”  David said, “Excuse me, Sir, it is not okay.  We want our seats.  We paid to be on this flight and in our seats.”  By this time everyone was looking at us.  The son and David went back and forth for about two minutes.  The father finally got out of my seat and let us in the aisle.  The son then grumbled in Ukrainian.

As we began taxiing on the runway, the pilot announced that everyone was on board and that we would be able to take off earlier than expected.  This meant getting to Kiev quicker.  With that announcement, the flight became much better!  And, to make matters even better, I slept soundly the entire flight.  My time clock was still messed up and I was suffering from jetlag, but was thankful for the almost 2 ½ hours of sound sleep.

Then, the best thing of the last two days happened:  WE LANDED SAFELY IN KIEV!!!!  We are now only three days away from our babies!!!



Traveling Post # 3: Still en route

[Note:  I wrote this as we waited to board our flight to Kiev from Munich, but didn’t get a chance to post it until now.]

The flight from Dulles to Munich wasn’t too bad.  The flight was only about 2/3 full, so there were several seats open.  This was very nice because we could stretch out on three seats to sleep.   I ended up moving to the middle of the plane and tried to sleep, but was unsuccessful because my feet was on the seat next to a really huge man who snored loudly.  David stayed up and watched movies.  These were his movie selections:  Paul, Thor, Kunfu Panda 2, and part of Rio.

Since David was watching movies he and I switched places.  I was then able to sleep about 3 ½ hours since I was stretched out on two seats with my head propped up against the window.  I started having weird dreams about our trip and children, so it was not a restful sleep at all.  Since I couldn’t sleep very well I ended up watching movies and listening to an eclectic music montage that included Elvis, U2, Tim McGraw, The Beatles, Madonna, David Bowie, and Alison Kraus.  My movie selections were:  Water for Elephants (great movie!) and parts of Source Code and Biutiful.

We landed in Munich at 9:30am.  I was surprised because the airport was almost empty.  I later found out the reason:  the majority of the people were in the hundreds of airport bars.  I’m not used to seeing bars open and people drinking at such an early hour.  In Texas, alcohol cannot be served until after noon.  It was funny because I saw one man drinking beer with his breakfast of fried eggs, sausage, and bread with honey.  This did not look very appetizing! 

Our layover was almost four hours so we walked around the airport a while and then grabbed USA Today and The Wall Street Journal to read before we boarded.  David went and got us a Coke to share which cost over $3.  We definitely went over budget with that one!

The flight from Munich to Kiev is just over three hours and shouldn’t be bad at all.  We are only days away from seeing our children!!  I’m starting to get really nervous.